Jaipur Pink Panthers, led by a brilliant all-round performance from Nitin Rawal, secured their first win in VIVO Pro Kabaddi Season 6 as they beat home team Haryana Steelers 36-33 at the Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai in Sonepat on Tuesday.
The first half was a close affair with both teams matching their opponent blow-for-blow. Haryana Steelers were first off the mark, with captain Monu Goyat getting a touch point on Bajirao Hodage. But Jaipur Pink Panthers captain Anup Kumar, coupled with Mohit Chhillar, levelled the score at 5-5. Both teams were able to starve the opponent raiders for points, showing how well prepared the defenders were for this game.
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With the score at 7-7, Right Corner Kuldeep Singh tackled Hooda and Naveen got both Jaipur Pink Panthers Corners on his raid as Haryana Steelers took a 10-7 lead with five minutes left in the half. But Young Chang Ko’s Super Tackle followed by Selvamani K’s two-point raid yet again closed down Haryana Steelers’ lead. Khandola got the final point of the half to level the score at 12-12.
The second half was the complete opposite of the first as both teams scored over 20 points in what quickly became an offensive shootout. Nitin Rawal showcased his all-round ability as he got Jaipur Pink Panthers’ first points of the half with a Super Tackle and followed it up with three points in two raids as his team opened up a five-point lead in just five minutes. Soon after, in the 8th minute, captain Anup Kumar got both men that were left on the opposition side of the mat and inflicted the first All Out of the match on Haryana Steelers as Jaipur Pink Panthers led 23-17.
Deepak Hooda joined the party and got a Super Raid as Jaipur Pink Panthers opened up a 10-point lead with 11 minutes left in the match. But Naveen wasn’t about to give up on the match and he continued to keep scoring right until his last raid to keep Haryana Steelers’ hopes alive.
Those hopes were given a new lease of life when Naveen managed to get a bonus point along with three touch points to get a four-point Super Raid and reduce the deficit to just four with the score at 34-30 in Jaipur Pink Panthers’ favour. He then showcased his defensive side, as he got a tackle point on Hooda to cut Jaipur Pink Panthers’ lead to just three points.
Visit the matchcentre to relive the contest here.
With just three men left on the mat for Jaipur Pink Panthers and Naveen going in for a raid, it seemed like the spectators might witness an improbable comeback. But substitute Amit Kumar’s block on Naveen gave Jaipur Pink Panthers a couple of points and with the score at 36-31 with just over a minute left, the game was all but over.
Haryana Steelers managed to tackle Rawal and Chhillar smartly sacrificed a point to run out the clock as Jaipur Pink Panthers held on to win 36-33. Naveen finished the night with 15 raid points and two tackle points whereas Rawal managed eight touch points and three tackle points for his team in what was an outstanding night for these young men.